Hola mi Gente,
This weekend is a celebration of Puerto Rican culture and pride. I am especially looking forward to the festival in El Barrio this Saturday.
What follows is a very brief and very inadequate attempt to elaborate on tantra.
Every woman’s nature is to be a priestess, to be an initiator. Only when a man knows how to give her pleasure will she be radiant, devoted, loving, satisfied, and able to be in the fullness of the whole relationship.
— Margot Anand
Sex lies at the root of life, and it is crucial that we learn reverence for it. By reverence I don’t mean to say that sex should only be practiced under certain conditions and only with certain individuals. By reverence I mean that we must come to the realization that sex is an energy — a divine and transformative energy — and that we must learn to revere and cultivate that energy.
More than any other experience, orgasm brings us closer to the divine. This is why organized religions have always tried to control sex: ecstatic people are a free people. In the moment of orgasm, a bonding between the right and left hemispheres of the brain occurs. When the creative, intuitive right side of the brain fuses with the center of logic and thinking on the left side, an akashic field (“zero-point”) of total connection can be accessed. The ego walls come tumbling down, time and space cease to exist, and you become one with energy and consciousness.
This form of sexual practice transcends mere ego needs so often heard in popular culture: songs wailing about “Baby, I need you,” and “I can’t live without you.” Sabotaged by ego needs (the “Mini Me”), sex becomes a quick exercise in tension and release. It obstructs the free flow of energy.
Sexuality is a very natural instinct, a powerfully creative force. From the tantric perspective, each of us can put that force to work in the service of healing, transformation, and the realization of our potentials. Yet, in many ways, we are conditioned to think about sex in a way that confuses us. We straddle the two extremes of viewing sex as something natural that should not be interfered with, and the perception of sex as something hidden, dirty, and taboo. Of course, that last part is what sometimes makes it so interesting and brings violence and exploitation into sex. In this country, we find it so difficult even to talk about sex without defining it in deviant terms, we have to fight through all the cultural taboos to have a good time, it seems.
I write about sex mostly because I feel the damage caused by the anti-sex cultural attitudes can’t begin to be measured. Instead of celebrating sex as a creative force, we turn it into a shameful, guilt-ridden affair. Religions want to make people believe that a priest is necessary in order to have a relationship with the divine. They discourage any attempt to have a direct experience of “God” on their own. Religious institutions, for the most part, do not want us to wake up to our natural ecstasy. The moment they wake up, a person becomes a free thinker and for those in power, a free thinker is a dangerous individual.
Tantra developed as a rebellion against the repressive moralistic codes of organized religions in India around 5000 b.c.e. It developed particularly as a response to the widespread notion that sexuality had to be denied in order to attain spiritual enlightenment. Tantra means “weaving,” in the sense of bringing together the many and often contradictory aspects of the self into one harmonious whole. Tantra also means “expansion,” in the sense that once our own energies are understood and unified, we grow and expand into joy. Truly, Tantra is the “yoga of love.”
Characterized by what the Tibetan Tantric tradition calls crazy wisdom, Tantric masters scandalized mainstream society and were often condemned and persecuted. Crazy Wisdom is a tradition in which the teacher uses paradoxical stories, seemingly absurd questions, and unexpected behavior in order to tease, jolt, and provoke people to drop mainstream conditioning and conventional attitudes so that they may embrace the whole spectrum of life, with no conflict between the sacred and the profane, the spiritual and the sexual.
There’s no way I could do justice to the Tantric vision in a one-page Word document, but I will say that the Tantric vision accepts everything. There’s nothing forbidden in Tantra. Everything that a person experiences, regardless of whether it is judged as good or bad, is an opportunity for learning. For example, a situation in which you experience sexual frustration is not viewed negatively in tantra, it is viewed as an opportunity for learning.
The best way I’ve heard tantra described is through the use of the metaphor of weeds. While weeds, if left unattended can bring a garden to ruin, one can also use weeds to fertilize the soil and make it richer. In this way, Tantra utilizes energies usually judged as negative as a path toward growth.
According to Tantra, sex is first a matter of energy, and Tantra views energy as the movement of life. For example, the nucleus and electrons of an atom have a certain rhythmic movement. The same goes for molecules, cells, and organs of the human body. Similarly, each organ — the heart, diaphragm, intestines, lungs, brains, etc. — pulsate to the rhythm of life. The vibrations from these rhythmic movements generate bioelectric currents that stream continuously through the whole body. They also generate energy fields that surround the body, and our moods and emotions generate specific vibrations that alter these energy fields as well.
One last thing, Surrender is an essential aspect of Tantra. There is, however, much confusion about what surrender means. People are suspicious of this term, which is often equated with loss of free will and personal power. In fact, they are confusing surrender with submission, which is (to me) a passive attitude that implies giving up responsibility for one’s behavior. True surrender, at least within the Tantric tradition, is a conscious choice made from free will. It means opening your heart and trusting the person you are with.
Tantra is about wholeness, of embracing everything, because every situation is an opportunity to become more aware about who you are and about how you can expand your capacities. Because Tantra embraces wholeness, it embraces opposites, seeing them not as contradictions but as complements. The concepts of male and female therefore are placed apart, forever divided by a gender gap, but are viewed as part of a continuum that meet and merge in every human being. Tantra recognizes that in each individual there exists both a masculine and feminine quality.
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…